Changing the default file handler in XFCE on Debian

Since reinstalling my computer, I’ve been getting annoyed that PDF files are being opened in the GIMP, rather than ePDFview, which is more useful. I’ve finally been annoyed enough to work out where to change this. The “Preferred Applications” settings dialog only sets a few basic types. So I needed to wander round the MIME information stuff.

A quick google for stuff had lots of people saying “Right click in Thunar, select ‘Open with other application’ and pick the application and set it as default”. There already were applications listed, I didn’t want to change too much. I then found this post on StackExchange, which didn’t quite make sense with my filesystem. Then I worked out what to do…

I had an empty mimeinfo.cache file in <home>/.local/share/applications, but the one in /usr/share/applications had all of the MIME types listed. Including one line for PDF files:


So I copied this into the local user file, changed the first program listed to epdfview.desktop, and tried it. It worked. Obviously, this only changes it per user, but it means that it’s not likely to be overwritten by a package upgrade later.

Maybe doing the “Select as default” option is better. I’ll have to try it next time I need to do this. But, I now know how to modify it manually when I mistakenly set JPG files to open in Totem, or something equally stupid.

Ivy’s Dedication

If you’ve found this page by following the URL on an invite to our service of naming and thanksgiving for Ivy, welcome. The service is being held at 12 noon on the 17th Feb 2013 at St Leonards, Lexden. It will be followed by a buffet lunch in the church hall.

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Rememberance Sunday

At the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month we all pause to remember.

Today we went to the Remembrance Sunday service at church. After the main service finishes at about 10.50 we all file outside. We sing a hymn and say some prayers and then the Last Post is played. And everything stops.

Colchester is a garrison town so, while many of the people present are remembering those who served in the first or second world wars, there are always some who are worrying for loved ones serving at this very moment somewhere in the world.

There is one particularly lovely tradition here which I’ve never seen anywhere else. At the end of the service, after we’ve sung the national anthem and the Rector has spoken the blessing, each of us, slowly at first but then building to a flood, move forward and plant our poppies at the foot of the war memorial. This leaves the memorial, with it’s wreaths laid by various organisations, ringed with red. Each poppy the sign of an individual’s act of remembrance and of their promise never to forget the sacrifices made by the few to whom we owe so very much.

Sussex Pond Pudding – A Harvey Family Favourite

We had Hamish and Phy visiting last weekend. I did a big meal on Saturday night and while the main course, roast chicken and all the trimmings, went down well it was the pud that really impressed them. So much in fact that Hamish asked for the recipe.

I’d made Sussex Pond Pudding, which is a favourite in my family. It’s my mum’s adaptation of a more traditional recipe and we love it. It’s normally served at family get togethers and everyone fights over who gets seconds.

This is the recipe. It’ll feed six easily.

2 tbsp golden syrup
6oz soft yellow fat (I use stork, butter will work but the pudding will be very rich)
6oz sugar
2 medium eggs
6oz self raising flour
splash of milk
2 tsp ground ginger
1 unwaxed lemon

1) Grease a 2pt pudding basin and put the golden syrup in the bottom of it
2) Cream the sugar and the fat together
3) Add eggs and mix well
4) Add the flour and the ginger and combine
5) Loosen the mixture slightly with the milk. Exactly how much you need will depend on the size of the eggs but 3-4 tablespoons should be enough. It should be the consistency of a victoria sponge mix
6) Put half of the sponge mix into the pudding basin on top of the syrup
7) Wash the lemon well and then top and tail it
8) Push the lemon far enough into the sponge mix in the pudding basin that it will stand upright
9) Cover the lemon with the remaining sponge mix
10) Cover the pudding for steaming
11) Put the pudding on the trivet in the pressure cooker
12) Fill the pressure cooker with water to two thirds of the way up the pudding basin
13) Pressure cook at 5lb of pressure for 45 mins
14) To serve turn the pudding out of the basin and just before cutting put your knife into the centre of the lemon and swirl it around to release the juices
15) Serve piping hot with custard

If you don’t have a pressure cooker you could steam this pudding in a normal steamer. It will probably need about 4 hours to cook.

I hope you enjoy it as much as we do.


Stuff added


I’ve just imported my old blog, and am testing out the WordPress Android app at the same time. Here goes nothing…

The ups and downs of re-usable nappies

Daughter #2 is now well established with us, and this time round, Roz decided to use re-usable nappies. Nice and easy for her… she doesn’t normally do the washing…

With that aside, they are a lot better than I expected. Once assembled, they are as easy to use as the disposables, but the assembly is the downside. They are all slightly different, and Roz appears to have one of every type.

The one thing that I am happy about is that the re-usable wipes that we bought for use with daughter #1 are a lot easier to use now. I had problems washing them, since my instinct (considering what is on them once used) is to put them on a 60°C wash, and they needed washing twice a week. Now, of course, we’re washing nappies at that, multiple times a week, so they just get put in. They are also better at wiping babies clean too 🙂

Rootkits, or not…

I’ve just spent about an hour, checking on the internet, after chkrootkit on my workstation flagged up a couple of supposedly hidden processes. Not exactly panicking, but more a case of trying to work out what it’s found.

The first thing that I came across was a site that said that there is “no malware for Linux”. Ignoring that one, I then found references to rkhunter. I’d spotted the Debian package before, but never really played with it. So with a quick “apt-get install”, I was able to run it. And it found something…

Turns out though, that there was a bug (#576680) listed with Debian. I then used this workaround, which basically says “do what it says in the README.Debian file distributed with the package”, and all is now happy. Even better – I’ve now had a chance to have a look at both chkrootkit and rkhunter a bit more than I had before.

Printing and Debian (HP CLJ CP1215)

I’m currently in the process of reinstalling my workstation with the latest version of Debian, and have just been asked to print stuff.
Fine. I have an HP Color LaserJet CP1215 (it was reasonably cheap, and we were fed up with inkjet cartridges drying up in the 6 months between uses). I’d had it set up with my old workstation, but there had been issues, and I tended to use my old XP laptop when I needed to print things directly.
First stage. I wandered over to the HP Linux Imaging and Printing website, to go and see what I needed to do. I had a quick look – the hplip package was already installed. I plugged in the USB cable with the printer turned on, and immediately got a message that I’d just plugged in a printer, and it was ready to work. Seemed too good to be true, so I pressed “Print Test Page”, and waited.
The CUPS test page appeared, and I thought that it was a lot more monochrome than I remembered…
Back to the HP website, searching for the specific printer. Yes, it was supported (specifically under Debian) but required a proprietary plug-in download. Not a problem.
Back to the instructions. I ran hp-setup as root, which failed due to not having relevant GUI support, apparently. So I ran hp-setup -i instead, which gave me an interactive setup on the command line. I hit enter a couple of times to accept the defaults, and it installed the plug-in successfully. I restarted CUPS (/etc/init.d.cups restart) for good measure, and opened up the local CUPS interface (the link only works if you have it installed) in my browser. A test page printed then showed colour, and so I was away.
Now I just need to work out how to use the GNOME printing settings, as most can be done from there. That’s for another time though.

UPDATE: April 2012:
I’ve just had to reinstall again, and this time the hp-setup GUI worked first time. Currently installing with Debian testing (wheezy).



Testing… Testing… Is this thing working?

Welcome to my blog. I will attempt to update this with things that other people might find useful, but there is no guarantee that anyone will.

Things that are likely to appear are bits about using Debian GNU/Linux, Android phones, and being a house-husband in a society which still assumes that it’s the mum who stays at home.